Monday, January 28, 2013
Today we woke up to the sound of rain. In Egypt, this is a sound that you do not expect to hear as rainfall is rare, especially in Upper Egypt. Today’s rain was not the light sprinkle of last week, something that does happen each season and made us run to cover the excavation notes; this was a steady light rain that had fallen all night and was still falling when we got up at 6 AM. I knew that excavating at the North Village would be impossible. As soon as anyone walked across the site they would destroy the thin and fragile brick. So Catharine, Katie, and Annie stayed at the house to work and Peter and I went to the palace to consider our options. There were lakes of water on the roads as there is no drainage on the streets because it just isn’t necessary. When we arrived at Malqata, most of the workmen were there, ready to work in the wet. As Peter, Hassan, and I walked around looking at the palace’s mud brick, we quickly decided work was impossible for the same reason as the North Village so we closed the site for the day.
Peter and I returned to the hotel only to find out that we were not going to work anywhere. The electricity on the West Bank had been turned off since many wires are not well protected and electricity and rain are not a good combination. That meant working on a computer could only be for a short time until the battery ran out and it was unclear how long the rain would last. So we all cleaned the workroom, and our bedrooms, and cleaned and reorganized the dig’s equipment. Those things we could do by what daylight there was. By noon, the rain was just a sprinkle and by 1 PM the sun was out and the electricity was back on, but the temperature had dropped. Nevertheless to get something more out of the day, Catharine, Annie, Katie, and I set out first to the Seti I temple on the West Bank and then Catharine and I went on to the Luxor Temple on the East Bank. At both temples we reviewed the different types of signs and the different reconstruction techniques that have been used to introduce visitor to the archaeology of these monuments. We are considering the type of signage we want to produce for Malqata so that people who want to visit the site will have some introduction to the massiveness of the festival city and its complicated mud brick structures. For reconstructing and protecting the decaying mud brick, we want to make sure we choose techniques that have been successfully tested already.
Diana Craig Patch